The aftermath of a car accident can be challenging in the best circumstances. When an accident involves a hit and run driver, these challenges can grow substantially. The good news is that you can pursue monetary compensation after your accident, even if the other driver leaves the scene.
At Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi P.C. we are prepared to help you investigate your claim and advise you on your legal options for compensation. Call us today at (201) 585-9111 to speak with a member of our team.
Understanding Hit and Run Accidents
In general, a hit and run accident occurs when a driver involved in the collision leaves the scene of the crash. These accidents only make up a small portion of all vehicle collisions, but the rate at which they occur is growing. According to the Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2016 saw the highest rate of hit and run accidents over the course of the previous decade.
The law requires motorists to stop and contact law enforcement after an accident involving injuries. Unfortunately, some drivers fail to do so. There are a variety of reasons why drivers might not want to stop. Some examples include intoxicated drivers, individuals with liability insurance, or drivers with outstanding criminal warrants, to name a few.
Ultimately, the reasons for another driving leaving the scene of your accident do not matter to you or your personal injury claim. Instead, the essential factor in your case is identifying the other driver and holding them accountable for their negligence.
New Jersey Law Related to Hit and Run Accidents
According to New Jersey Statutes Annotated Section 39:4-129(a), drivers must stop at the scene of all motor vehicle accidents. Leaving the scene of the crash—even in cases where no injuries are present—is a violation of the traffic law and carries steep penalties.
In accidents where there are no injuries involved, it is enough for a driver to make contact with the owner of the vehicle and provide their insurance information. However, any accident involving injuries or death requires all parties to remain at the scene until the police arrive.
Most drivers in New Jersey comply with these rules. While some drivers do not, it is common for the police or the other party to the accident to ultimately determine their identity.
Investigating Hit and Run Accidents
Identifying the driver responsible for causing your hit and run accident is one of the first steps your Clifton hit and run accident lawyer must take. The difficulty of this investigation can vary dramatically. In some cases, police will track down the other driver in the moments after the crash. In fact, law enforcement routinely identifies the responsible driver in a hit and run accident through license plates, witness reports, and traffic camera footage. If the police identify the other driver in short order, your personal injury claim could follow a pattern similar to other car accidents. If the police are unable to identify the responsible driver, that does not mean you are out of options.
A Clifton hit and run accident lawyer can often succeed in identifying the driver responsible for your accident when the police cannot. An attorney could help your injury claim by interviewing witnesses, obtaining video evidence, and tracking down license plate numbers. In many cases, determining the registered owner of the other vehicle is the first step in finding the driver.
Of course, tracking down the other driver is only part of the claims process. Holding them accountable can be challenging, particularly if they deny involvement in the accident. Your attorney can work to obtain a settlement from the other driver or their insurance company following a hit and run accident. Failing that, the next best option is pursuing an injury lawsuit.
The team at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi P.C. can investigate your case so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Call us today at (201) 585-9111 for a free consultation.
Potential Insurance Claims
There is no guarantee that you will identify the other driver. In some cases, there is not enough information to determine the driver’s identity, no matter how thorough the investigation into the crash is. That does not mean you are out of options for pursuing financial compensation for your injuries. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, your Clifton hit and run car accident lawyer can assist you with the claims process.
Uninsured motorist insurance is different from standard automotive liability coverage. Instead of seeking a claim against the other driver’s policy, uninsured motorist coverage allows you to file a claim on your own policy. A successful claim could result in compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses related to the hit and run accident. This coverage is available if you are unable to identify the other driver in the crash, or if that driver ultimately lacked liability insurance. Pursuing an uninsured motorist claim could be your best chance of recovering compensation.
Not every driver in New Jersey has uninsured motorist coverage, though. While this form of insurance coverage comes with all Standard Policies, it is not included with a Basic Policy. This is an important distinction, as your insurance provider will not cover your loss if you lack active uninsured motorist coverage.
Having a Standard Policy does not guarantee that your insurance company is going to treat you fairly. Like all insurance companies, your provider will likely make every effort to avoid paying out your claim if possible. Your attorney can help you not only investigate the other driver involved in the crash but also hold your own insurance carrier responsible if they fail to uphold their end of your insurance contract.
Our Injury Attorneys Are Ready to Help
The personal injury law firm of Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi P.C. is proud to serve Clifton residents dealing with the challenge of a serious accident. We understand the impact your injuries can have on your life and believe you should not have to shoulder the financial burden caused by another driver.
You deserve compensation for your injuries, and we will help you pursue your claim. Call (201) 585-9111 today to review your case with a member of our team.